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  • Writer's pictureZiggurat Realestatecorp

Food policy: Accessibility

'Marcos Jr. as agriculture chief is reintroducing the Kadiwa program to help Filipinos cope with the increasing costs of goods.'

Just last week, I stumbled upon the Discussion Paper of Ms. Ivory Myka R. Galang entitled “Is Food Supply Accessible, Affordable, and Stable? The State of Food Security in the Philippines.”

According to her study, the Economist’s Global Food Index, or GFI ranked the Philippines 64th out of 113 countries. The GFI is the widely used gauge to measure the level of food security in a particular country. The index value is based on a combination of food security’s four dimensions, namely accessibility, utilization, availability and stability.

I wish to focus on the first point which is accessibility. Accessibility entails the need to ensure that people could have physical and economic access to food commodities. Physical access refers to the availability of an efficient food transportation network, good roads, and storage facilities. Food may be available in one place but because of the absence of farm-to-market roads, the food fails to reach the proper market. This failure in turn results in a lack of supply which consequently drives the price of commodities up.

Economic access means people have the power to buy healthy and nutritious food. Even if the farm-to-market roads are sufficient to bring enough supply of goods to the market, in times of economic crisis, only the people belonging to the high-income group would be able to acquire those goods.

The identification of Farm-to-Market Roads is one of the tasks of the Department of Agriculture. This activity is held annually with the cooperation of the LGUs and other stakeholders. The funding for the identified FMRs is appropriated through the General Appropriations Act for locally funded projects.

Upon the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who also serves as the Agriculture Secretary, the DA issued Memorandum 326, series of 2022 which aims to optimize already-built bridge projects with farm-to-market road developments which would link them to the main roads.

In finalizing the lists, DA issued AO No. 13, series of 2022, which instructed all DA Regional Offices to check if all their lists of proposed FMRs are aligned with the Farm-To-Market Road Network Plan 2023-2027. The final list would then be submitted to the respective LGUs for implementation. The alignment of the lists with the FMRNP is a condition prescribed under the Special Provisions of GAA. The total budget allocated for FMRs for the year 2022 amounted to P7,485,000,000.

In addition to the identification and construction of FMRs, the President’s Kadiwa stores will help achieve the promotion of food accessibility. Among its objectives is to provide Filipinos with fresh and affordable agricultural and fishery products.

It was former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who initially launched the project to create a market for local farmers and fishermen, enabling them to sell their produce. From his father’s objective of promoting the business of local farmers and fishermen, Marcos Jr. as agriculture chief is reintroducing the Kadiwa program to help Filipinos cope with the increasing costs of goods.

The program was launched in December 2022 and has been progressing consistently. Currently, there are around 500 Kadiwa outlets across the country. This program will ensure that prices of these commodities remain steady amid the rising inflation being experienced in the country.

The current problem regarding access to food is a huge one, but with initiatives such as the construction of FMRs and the promotion of Kadiwa stores, Filipinos have something to look forward to and be optimistic about. Eventually, access to food, or the lack thereof, will no longer be a problem for the ordinary Filipino.

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Source: Daily Tribune

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